Pozoulakis wanted the staircase as a second-floor entry for a live-in caretaker for his mother, he wrote to housing official Vince Leone. But a housing inspector later determined that the permit did not allow for a doorway to be created from a second-floor window and that the newly built staircase didn't comply with the permit.

By last summer, Dwyer and others came to believe that Pozoulakis was doing major renovations inside the house, with a stream of contractors coming and going. In late September, Robert and Lynne Michael Blum, who own the house on the other side of Pozoulakis', told Braverman in an email that Pozoulakis "has gutted the entire house."

In another email, Lynne Blum described nonstop racket coming from the house: "For a few days it was so loud on the third floor that Bob and I stood for awhile in fear that the buzz saw was coming through the wall. Yet, when asked, the workman in the house states that he is doing a little paint repair."

The city issued a stop-work order, tacking it to the Pozoulakis home's front door.

But on Oct. 12, a housing inspector visiting the house saw that the stop-work order had been removed and work appeared to be continuing, city officials said in court documents.

A week later, the city's housing agency obtained the search warrant. Thomas Waugh, head of the Special Investigations Unit, asked Pozoulakis to let them inside. When he said no, Waugh went to the house escorted by police, reached through a broken windowpane and opened the door.

"I was totally shocked when I walked in," Waugh recalled in an interview. Despite the Blums' comment about a gut rehab, Waugh said he expected to find only bathroom renovations.

"I didn't expect to find the second and third floor completely gutted with structural changes," he said. "He totally changed the layout of the house — electrical, plumbing, structural — without obtaining a permit. And what I observed he did not do to code."

Dangers observed by inspectors included exposed electrical wiring in the kitchen and the partial removal of a brick chimney, with remnants left unsupported, according to court records. The house was condemned that day.

The city sued Millie Pozoulakis, and in January the two sides signed a consent order under which she would undo the damage. By mid-March, all "urgent issues" had been addressed, said housing agency spokeswoman Cheron Porter, including repairs to floor joists. Plans are still being finished for the full rehabilitation of the house to its earlier state, she said.

In city district court Thursday, Martin Pozoulakis faces 90 days in jail for each of two counts — failing to comply with a permit and failing to obtain a permit — in addition to $500 in fines per charge.

But Lynne Blum is still worried. In an email sent last month to the city, she said the house looked ready to be divided into apartments.

If the city were to give Martin Pozoulakis "a pass" on the property, Blum wrote, "he'll be renting it to two families and there will be little we can do about it."

scott.calvert@baltsun.com

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